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Weapons and Armor

By on April 20, 2012 4:27:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

seanw3

Join Date 12/2007
+141

I am getting some huge armor numbers for all units. Leather is doing way too much. I would say a full suit of Leather would be keen to do 13 Defense as it does. Chain should do 18 Defense +18 Cutting Bonus. 24 Defense makes those units nigh invincible. Add a shield, Stoneskin, Ironskin, and Shieldwall to beat the game in your sleep. Plate is okay at 48, but it should require more training time so that we only have one of them in an army. There needs to be a few strategies for cracking these guys open. I have yet to research a tech that can do that. Wages are the only thing keeping these brutes in check, but really you only need one to end the game.


The problem I am having is that the AI never uses Leather. When it does, I already have plate or a hero in found plate and am at 80 Defense. Me and Werewindlfr (I don't know what it means either) are already looking at increasing all weapon damage by 3 to allow some damage against armored units. Also looking at making things perform a little more realistically, which I think would help the overall game design.


If you think of it as each new tech offering a new strategy, Weapons and Leatherworking are exactly where we want them, but weapons are not able to do decent damage against full Leather. I would nerf Leather a bit so that Average damage is 5 per soldier in a unit with no traits or magics used. Axe should counter dodgy units and be a good low metal option. Dagger should be the high Initiative/Counterattack choice. Maybe give it 2 counterattacks and +2 Init so that we don't use them as light cavalry anymore, it looks ridiculous. Spear is best suited to fight higher tier units obviously. It is 2-handed, does good penetration and prevents counters. No more need be done there. Warhammer is great for knocking about Chain clad troops and is the weapon of choice if you have no metal. This could be tweaked to have a cost of .5 Metal and cost less to produce. No reason we should only be using integers for cost.

The next tier is shortbows and blacksmiths. Mace should be something to do a ton of damage with, but the weight prevents you from choosing anything other than +Weight Capacity for traits. The Init penalty is fine, but the damage should be higher so that it is worth it. Mounted Macemen should be the scourge of this part of the game. They will be the counters to Shortbow Archers, whom are excellent at knocking out low armored units from afar. Boar Spear does good damage and is once again a weapon for countering sword and shield. Spears make the unit very vulnerable to arrows and other units somewhat. This is a nice balance. Round shield should weigh more. It is very strong. Dodge levels should be doubled across the board, but I'll post about that later. In general this tier is the best designed. It adds some new strategies to counter above and below its tier, plus it offers some countering within the tier. The only hiccup is that Wargs are there. +1 Init does nothing compared to the Weight Capacity bonus of Horses. It should get rid of that or do even more than horses. The better choice would be to make Wargs do something unique. Maybe give them +2 Moves or Quick as a trait bonus. I would also like them to get an extra counterattack. Just needs some love is all.


The next tier is where things get rather unbalanced and counterintuitive. Chainmail doubles the defense of leather. Why? It should absolutely be more protective, but I think it goes too far. As I understand it, Chain is great at stopping the slash of a sword, but is not great for much else. Plate is commonly worn in combination with it to give the core body protection against blunt and pierce damage. I would lower the overall defense values to about 18. That is still 25 true defense with a Kite Shield in hand. That means Shortbows, Spears and Maces are hard pressed to kill the unit without many return hits. If you are skipping this unit's turn, it is a perfect tank for the tier. The current design never forces this decision on the player. I think it should. One thing to think about is making sure Leather blends well with Chain and Plate. The models seem to clash right now, but it is very common to want a mix of two of these armor types. I like the idea that Cutting would get 25 extra defense. That part of the design is solid, it is only the sky high true armor levels that make the armor levels get too high, obscuring the clever strategies. And get rid of the Init penalties for greaves and breastpiece. Just make Encumbrance do more of penalty.

The next thing to look at are the weapons of this tier. Battleaxe is a great choice to brutalize leather troops of the previous tier. I would even add 3 attack since it will be mostly for persuading the enemy to use Chain. With these proposed changes it would be well countered by Chainmail and leave the unit open to arrow attacks. Longbow is right where it should be to do that. Shortsword and Broadsword need some rethinking. The choice here is hard to see. Shortsword should do two counterattacks and have +4 init, weight 5 is about right, and it should cost 1 metal with a low production cost. Broadsword should have a higher attack difference. If Battleaxe did 18 damage, Broadsword would be free to do 14 Damage at +2 Init, weight 10, metal cost 2. Now the difference is between doing enough damage to breach chainmail and having many more attacks in a battle. If you are fighting weaker units, Shortsword is best and cheaper. Once your enemies get Chain, you had better be using Chainmail, Kite Shield, and Broadsword. This is the point where Sword and Shield should become the standard weapons of the armies of the realm. Once one nation gets to this point, all others need to start busting their asses to also get there. That means the AI should be trading Knowledge and reducing taxes. In this proposal, Spears and Maces would still be useful in a battle, but the higher tiers have a clear advantage. Currently, we are seeing chain make all weapons useless and one unit defeat an entire army. The culprit is high defense with too few counters.


The next tier falls flat. There are only two options, Yew Bows and Longsword. What do we want these weapons to do? I would like Yew Longbows to do more damage and have 10% armor penetration. Just so the tip gets to the skin once in a while. This is the final bow tech, but it is not too much better than the first one. The tech cost is also more than War Colleges. That is a good call as long as the Bow is a terrifying presence on the battlefield. Longsword should be doing much better damage. At this point we are countering broadswords and chainmail. There are limited choices here. It can't be faster than previous iterations of the sword. It must therefore do more damage. Bigger and stronger. Enough to do some really good damage against chainmail. That means breaking through 32 points of defense. Assuming they have a shield and some other armor on average, it will be about 40 Def. So if Longsword does 25 Damage, that is about 10 max damage and 5 minimum. I find that reasonable. The catch will be that it does about 14/7 to leather, but that is probably fine as long as there are more options to increase Hp at this point in the game. I say 25 damage is great for Longsword as long as it gets only 1 Counterattack and no Init bonus. It is not an agile sword I think. Cost should be 2.5 Metal and a high labor cost. We don't want too many of these in an army. They will naturally be flanking units, as you won't want them to be taking the brunt of the enemy attacks, but instead knocking off side units with its high damage. This tier also gives us Squads. This is well balanced because you have to get through sieges to obtain it, meaning it is almost in a separate tier. The choice would be to go forward or go back and get sieges and then Squads.

The next tier is where the endgame balance comes into play. Plate should be the best armor, but prohibitive in many respects. 35 true armor is a great start for full plate. It should be hard to overcome. It should be frakking heavy, but have not inherent Init penalty. It should Cost tons of metal. It should cost alot of labor. These units are the Ubermeinch of the game! All will fear them! But in most cases, as well as in history, players will be using the greaves and breastpiece only. They will want chain on the arms and legs. The helmet is a toss up. Plate is in an awkward position right now because it has no counter. Weapons of War should counter it rather well, but they don't offer nearly enough attack to do any real damage. The problem here is systematic. Because Blunt is what Plate is design to counter, Blunt is unable to counter Plate. Pike could counter Plate, but it does not do enough damage and the 2-handed penalty makes this kind of unit a weak target for all other units. Good luck getting them close enough to hit a plate clad unit. Greatsword would seem to be a decent counter, but Plate has such a high true defense, the weapon is moot.

I propose that blunt no longer be what Plate counters. It is true that a hard steel shell would do better against Plate, but that does not mean it should do 100 defense against all blunt weapons. That is way out of proportion. Sometimes good design means you cannot choose a linear succession of counters. Plate would be better suited to work as leather. High defense in all areas. It is the pinnacle of armor technology. There is no need to have it be invincible against any damage type, especially since it is unrealistic in this case. The counter for Plate should be Armor Penetration. That is essentially what it comes down to. Pike should do more damage to kill Plate clad units. Plate units should be heavy and expensive. Most of the time only a few pieces of plate will be chosen due to price and weight. Trogs should be able to wear full plate of course, but few others. Heroes perhaps. Maul should be the ideal blunt weapon to crack open plate. It should do alot more damage and be very very heavy. You will need to choose light armor to wield it, but if you should be able to do better damage than a pike. The choice between the two should be more damage per hit with a Maul and the lighter weight and immunity to counterattacks that a Pike offers. Greatsword, as with Battleaxe is mostly good for countering light armored units. It should get 2 counterattacks and have 25 Cutting Damage at 2.5 Metal and the same labor as Longsword. This weapon honestly feels out of place as cutting weapons are pretty easily countered and over-represented so far.

In the endgame the battle should be about getting high armor units to the front line. They are slow, so it will take a while. The plate unit in an army is the front line. The Maulers and Pikies will stand on the side of the plated units, waiting to attack the enemy tanks. Bows should focus on mages and archers, then turning on Maulers and Pikies once the other team's ranged units are crippled. This would be the conventional endgame army. Many other options could be used, but this needs to be the standard from which all other strategies deviate.

 

Link to the FE Modding section in case you want to try it out.

 

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April 20, 2012 4:57:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think the armor ratings are great, but stoneskin should be reduced to 5 + 5 per earth shard and the initiative penalty of chain and plate should be removed, because the downside of these armors is the weight.

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April 20, 2012 5:05:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I just think defense values go way too high.

 

But really, does anyone have some sort of intuitive sense as to how defense really affects attack? Because I've got my charts, and there's the in-game tooltips, but off-hand I can never tell what attack is going to get mitigated by defense.

 

I think initiative, as Wizard1200 says, is the big drawback of heavy armor. I haven't really played with it much to see how it works out.

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April 20, 2012 5:07:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If you look at the effect the current armor values have on max and min damage, it is not well balanced. Longsword does 1-2 damage against chainmail. Mace does 2-4 damage against the same armor, but is 2 tech tiers behind. That is not a good balance. Not a big deal, it just needs some reworking.

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April 20, 2012 5:09:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

My opinion of Stoneskin is that it should add cutting and pierce defense, but little to no blunt defense. That would be in line with other stone based defenses in the game.

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April 20, 2012 5:14:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

i think in the end stardock should just do with armor what they did with dodge and resist:

put % on them

 

as for the others it will be much more intuitive and easy to understand and decide what to do

 

also much more easy to balance

 

you could do

full leather 20 % reduction

chain 30%

plate 50%

rare drops and stuff 60%

voila'

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April 20, 2012 5:23:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I am very happy with the current min max damage system. The form is great. It is the content that needs some change.

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April 20, 2012 5:30:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

IMHO,

if chainmail was better against cutting damage than plate, there'd be a reason to use chainmail in the endgame.

and if we had some pelts or stuff, that worked great against piercing damage, there'd be a reason to use that in the endgame.

But currently, if you want defense, there is no real "choice" - you always always take the best armor you have.

 

Edit: I mean, don't get me wrong. There's metal cost, and initiative, to take into account. But I would like to look at the enemy's troops and take THAT into account as well. I think with the current system, what is in the enemy's army is irrelevant to the choice of armor. But maybe that's me.

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April 20, 2012 6:49:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,
I am very happy with the current min max damage system. The form is great. It is the content that needs some change.

 

you are happy with doing 1 dmg for 70% of fights and then dropping a uber sword and doing 50 crit the turn later?

 

ok...

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April 20, 2012 6:54:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Heavenfall,
IMHO,

if chainmail was better against cutting damage than plate, there'd be a reason to use chainmail in the endgame.

and if we had some pelts or stuff, that worked great against piercing damage, there'd be a reason to use that in the endgame.

But currently, if you want defense, there is no real "choice" - you always always take the best armor you have.

 

Edit: I mean, don't get me wrong. There's metal cost, and initiative, to take into account. But I would like to look at the enemy's troops and take THAT into account as well. I think with the current system, what is in the enemy's army is irrelevant to the choice of armor. But maybe that's me.

 

yes i agree

 

tbh im not totally sure id like every armor to be specialized for something, dunno, first i d want to see how it works but even the main idea a linear progression could be good

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April 20, 2012 7:34:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'd just say that it's completely counter-intuitive that plate is good against maces. Blunt weapons were the very thing brought to the battlefield to counter the heavy armor like plate, because a mace can bend armor and possibly impede mobility, and can also deliver blunt trauma through the plates. 

When heavy armor became obsolete due to firearms, maces and hammers disappeared from the battlefield too.

Blunt should be worst against soft, leather and cloth-type armors, because they can soften the impact. Swords should be best against lightly armored and unarmored, fast troops. 

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April 20, 2012 8:14:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Historically, plate armor is countered by piercing weapons.  The metal plates could (and would) spread the damage from a sword or hammer over a large area, effectively negating it.  A heavy sword or hammer might knock a knight back, but probably not penetrate the armor.   Where as a long, sharp spike could apply enough concentrated force to pierce the armor.

Pikes were the poor-mans weapons as they were relatively cheap to produce and required very little skill.  A company or two of farmers with a few days of training could counter a heavy horse charge with pikes.  Pole axes were also very useful as they typically had a long, sharp spike on one end for armor piercing and a pole axe swung even with the cutting blade could do tons of damage with all the momentum the long pole could give it.  Typically, a pole axe would be swung at a mounted knight to knock him off his horse then use the spike side to kill him as he was laying, immobilized on the ground.  Morningstars with the heavy head and long spikes were also designed as armor crushers though they took considerable skill to use effectively.     But the ultimate weapon against plate armor (at least until guns became common and reliable) were crossbows. 

Plate armor should protect better against all type of damage than any of the other, but it would be more vulnerable to piercing attacks.

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April 20, 2012 11:59:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Historically, maces were also really good against armors, actually. Flanged maces had very good armor penetration, and hammers/maces would push the armor inwards, to the point where the armor would damage its wearer (and be hard to remove).

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April 21, 2012 12:08:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


This is a great thread!  I look forward to what you mod with this... and to if the developers end up incorporating some of this.  It adds alot of depth.

 

Edit:  the more I think about it, the more I think that the ideal of a mounted lancer--a knight-- is the pinnacle end game warrior in plate armor and with a 1 arm spear and shield,  so maybe the last tier weapons should include a 1 handed version of a pike.  This would continue the overall theme, and keep the lance (a mounted 1 arm spear/pike) as the major threat to a mounted warrior in plate.  Foot pike would also be a significant threat to expensive plate armored troops, as well as (possibly) crossbowmen... and pikemen and crossbowment might be rather vulnerable to other kinds of attacks if not encumbered with expensive plate of their own.

The general idea is that knithgs would rush other plate clad tanks and be superior to them, but more overall (non piercing damage) options woulld be much more attractive at these hight costs when designing your plate clad troops to take out troops that were not in plate.  It would bring back the GalCiv2 idea of wanting to craft your ships to be durable and have damage that would be most effective against that enemy's defenses.

 

Thoughts on the mounted lancer as pinnacle?

 

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April 21, 2012 6:26:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Okay first - a quote from Wikipedia (I know there are better sources, but still) about hammers being THE specialized weapons against heavy armor. The point was - they could damage without penetrating the armor:

War hammers were developed as a consequence of the ever more prevalent surface-hardened steel surfacing of wrought iron armors of the late medieval battlefields during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The surface of the armour was now as hard as the edge of a blade, so a blade tended to ricochet. Swords, or the blade of a battleaxe, were likely only to give a glancing blow, losing much of the impact, especially on the high curvature of the helmet. The war hammer could deliver the full force to the target.

War hammers, especially when mounted on a pole, could damage without penetrating the armour. In particular, they transmitted the impact through even the thickest helmet and caused concussions. A blade or spike tended to be used against other parts of the body where the armour was thinner, and penetration was easier, than through the helmet.

I also see that Braveheart movie had a bit too much influence about the common notion of pikes. The idea that a bunch of peasants could withstand knight's charge with just a few days of training is not very viable - the only thing they would do is to throw their weapons down and run.  There was a reason that knights dominated the medieval battlefield until the rise of the combined armies of the renaissance - withstanding their charge took a lot of fighting spirit conscripted troops could not muster. During the knight's era, the infantry did not really count much, they served as a screen for archers, but they always vacated the battlefield when heavy armored knights were about to attack. It took professional, specialized troops to do that - like the legendary Swiss armored pikemen, but those were hardened soldiers clad in quality armor and wielding good weapons. There were exceptions, like Czech Hussites who managed to beat several crusading armies, but those were zealots led by a genius tactician.

Also, there was no such thing as a 1-handed pike, and it was never used on horseback. Pike was always very long, unsuited for duels, usable only in organized formation. When that broke, landsknechts, another example of excellent, professional pikemen, drew their short katzbalger blades for personal combat. 

Poleaxe, halberd, billhook, runka, guissarme, all were used against armored cavalry, but they could not really stop the charge because knight with a lance had superior reach. They were second line troops who rushed forward when the charge lost the momentum.

As for piercing weapons against heavy armor, they were effective, but only after hitting a weak spot - armpit, backside of legs, visor in helmet, which recquired great skill. When you look at plate cuirass, you will note that the part covering chest and stomach is not flat ("muscle" cuirasses are just fantasy) - it present the attacker a sort of forward-coming ridge and two skewed plates - this design maximized the chance for the blow to glance - the same elements can be seen on helmet, and other parts (no silly spikes or ornaments - everything had to be smooth so that the blows could glance away). Therefore, it was not easy just to "run through" an armored knight.

It's true that heavy armor was made obsolete by firearms - but with heavy armor, maces, morningstars and such disappeared too, because they lost purpose. Swords and sabres were the longest-lasting cold weapons of military use.

 

 

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April 22, 2012 2:21:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Just finished a mod of my proposed changes. I decided to increase Leather armor to do a total of 17 Defense and have Chain armor to a total of 22 Defense with 44 against Cutting Damage. I then balanced weapons based on their max and min damages. Axes do 2-4 damage against Leather, Warhammers do 2-4 Damage against Leather. The difference is that a Warhammer only costs .5 Metal and has a longer training time. It is heavier and will do about the same average damage to Chain as Leather, whereas Axes are pretty useless against Chain. I will post some combat videos later.

 

In case anyone wants to try it, I'll put a link in the OP.

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